4 safety tips for Pennsylvania pedestrians

Pedestrian accidents may result in serious injuries or death for walkers or runners, but there are things they can do to help ensure their safety.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, there were 4,209 pedestrians involved in accidents with motor vehicles in 2014 alone. Having no automobile exterior to protect them, such crashes often result in serious injuries or death for walkers and runners. Unfortunately, pedestrians cannot ensure that all drivers are responsible and attentive while they are behind the wheel. However, there are a number of things they can do to help ensure their safety when walking, jogging or otherwise sharing the road with motor vehicles.

Know the traffic rules

There are a number of rules, signs and signals that motorists must follow when they are on the roadways. It is important for pedestrians to be familiar with these regulations so they can better anticipate drivers' actions. Further, they should never assume that motorists will yield to them. This may help prevent some crashes involving pedestrians and motor vehicles.

Be visible to drivers

Some pedestrian accidents occur because drivers do not see walkers and runners. The AAA Exchange recommends that pedestrians increase their visibility by wearing brightly colored clothes during the daytime. At night, they should wear clothing that is reflective or lightly colored, as well as carry a flashlight. This may help reduce their risk of being struck by a vehicle.

Walk in safe areas

Certain places are designated for pedestrians, while others are unsafe. It is important for walkers and runners to use safe, well-lit areas. Whenever possible, they should use a crosswalk or cross the road at an intersection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention points out if there is not a sidewalk, then pedestrians should walk on the shoulder of the road. In addition, they should walk against traffic, rather than with it.

Avoid distractions

When walking, it is advisable that pedestrians avoid distractions including using their cellphones. This may help them stay alert so they are aware of the vehicles and what is happening on the road. Additionally, people often use headphones to listen to music while they walk or run. However, it is suggested that pedestrians refrain from using headphones when they are on the roadways so they can hear what is going on around them.

Seek legal guidance

Pedestrians may sustain serious injuries when they are struck by vehicles in Pennsylvania, and elsewhere. As a result, they may require medical treatment that carries unexpected costs, as well as time away from work to recover. Depending on the circumstances, the driver of the vehicle may be held liable for the resulting damages. Therefore, those who have been involved in pedestrian accidents may benefit from working with an attorney. A lawyer may explain their rights, as well as help them understand their options for pursuing financial compensation.